Monday morning quarterback...
• MHS WAS ROCK SOLID — I had never seen McPherson High football coach Jace Pavlovich as nervous as he was on Thursday when we were discussing the upcoming football game with Hays, which kicked off district play.
Turns out he was nervous for nothing. His team took care of that.
Scoring on the first drive of the game and then forcing a turnover moments later that they converted into another touchdown, the Bullpups roared to a 34-0 halftime lead and never looked back in a 48-14 breeze.
I’d never quite seen a domination like the first half. The Bullpups totaled 263 yards to minus-1 for the Indians.
To be fair to Hays, it was without its top two playmakers due to injuries and Pavlovich had expected them to play. But as focused as the Bullpups were on both sides of the ball, I don’t think it would have made much of a difference. The defensive front three of Wyatt Seidl, Caleb Spaich and Mike Mendez were in the backfield just about the time Hays quarterback Hunter Brown was receiving the snap and the linebackers and secondary cleaned up from there.
This MHS team is firing on all cylinders. It goes on the road Friday to Wamego, which lost 50-14 to undefeated Abilene in its district opener. If the Bullpups play as they did on Friday, it looks like the district title will be on the line in Week 9 at Abilene, with the winner home for the first round of the playoffs and the loser playing on the road.
• HEARTBREAK ‘DOGS — Do you realize McPherson College’s Bulldogs are just a play or two away from being tied for the KCAC lead?
Saturday’s 21-19 homecoming loss to Friends meant Mac has now lost KCAC games by 2, 3 and 3 points. In its other loss, it was down by a field goal to co-leader Kansas Wesleyan early in the fourth quarter.
Bulldog fans have to be aching. This team, mostly comprised of sophomores and freshmen, just needs to learn how to win. Coach Paul Mierkiewicz knows it’s a building process, but when you see how far the team has come since last year he’d like to see it rewarded with some wins.
McPherson High product Travis Steenson was simply amazing for the Bulldogs. He was in on 24 tackles, about the most I’ve ever seen in my 41 years of covering football.
The Bulldogs have some really good players, just not enough of them yet. Give Mierkiewicz one more good recruiting year to build up the depth — and if the current players come back next year — and the Bulldogs are going to be knocking on the contenders' door.
• WILDCATS FADE AGAINST SOONERS — Kansas State was never really in its game with Oklahoma on Saturday after enjoying great success recently in Norman.
Once quarterback Jesse Ertz went out with a shoulder injury, the Wildcats were toast.
Kansas State’s defense simply was out-athleted by the Sooners’ stable of quality skill players. This is not a great OU team by any means and one I thought the Wildcats could stay with the whole game.
If Ertz is out for a considerable amount of time, the Wildcats’ offense falls back on to Joe Hubener, just as it did last year when Ertz was lost for the season in Game 1. Hubener can do some good things, but he’s not going to make big plays like recent KSU QBs of the past like Jake Waters and Collin Klein.
KSU can still finish in the Big 12’s Top 4 because I think other than Baylor, it can win out.
• NIGHTMARE FOR KU — As I predicted, the TCU game was an aberration last week for Kansas.
It came oh so close to defeating the Horned Frogs and I had a feeling that would have a hangover effect against Baylor.
The Bears slapped KU around quickly and it was 21-0 before you could blink an eye. Ryan Willis had a lot of good moments last week, but the fast Baylor defense totally flummoxed him and he was done early in the second half due to ineffectiveness.
Thank goodness Baylor coach Jim Grobe had a heart. This could have been in the 80s had he wanted.
What this showed is that KU is still light-years away from being competitive in the Big 12 after its hopes were raised after last week’s near-miss.
• GREAT DAY FOR CHIEFS — There were few flaws for the Chiefs in Sunday’s 26-10 punishing of hated Oakland.
Other than the corner opposite of Marcus Peters getting picked on repeatedly early on, the Chiefs were in shutdown mode.
They also went back to their offensive strength, which is running the ball well to set up the pass. Spencer Ware delivered some powerful blows to the Raider defense with his relentless second effort. It also was good to see Jamaal Charles get a few more touches as it looks like he’s being saved for the second half of the season.
It also was good to see the pass rush come alive in the second half after being MIA for most of the season. The much-maligned Dee Ford came up with a couple of sacks as he continues to tease Chiefs coaches that he at times can look like the first-round pick that he was.
Kansas City is home on Sunday to take on New Orleans. Drew Brees could have a huge day against that KC secondary, but the Saints overall are average at best. It’s a game that Chiefs have to have if they want to entertain thoughts of winning the AFC West, which has become the most competitive division in football.